Korra blinked as she walked out of the portal to Danville. The world was bright, cheery even. The area was a collection of small houses with a city in the distance, but that vanished when Korra noticed that Overwatch’s team was somehow the same as they would be in their home dimension while she and her friends looked like they were still in their home dimension. “Woah, that’s so weird.”
“I know,” Tracer said, grinning as she held her arm up again Mako’s. “Still, it’s cool too.”
The door at the back of the house slid open, and a green animal that looked like a mini platypus-bear crawled out. Everyone stared at the thing, until it stood on two legs and put on a hat. Bolin’s eyes were sparkling. “Awwwww, this thing is so cuYEAAAAAARGH!”
The bottom fell out of the ground, and both teams went screaming into a massive secret underground facility . A massive screen lit up, a man with a gray crew cut and thick mustache coming into view. “Good morning Agent P, and welcome all of you. I’m Maj. Monogram of the OWCA.”
Pharah groaned as she pulled herself up. “Pleasure to meet you sir. I’m Pharah, MV-6. This is Korra, MV-3.”
“It’s good to have you both here.” At the edge of the screen, a red-headed kid poked his head in. “Oh, that’s our intern Carl.”
Pharah and Korra shared a look before Pharah went back to talking. “Uh, good morning. We’re sorry for not alerting you to our arrival but we didn’t have a way to do so.”
“It’s alright, you arrived at exactly the right time. We’ll take you to New York immediately, Pres. Martinez has decided that Mr. Xanatos should handle all matters relating to the MVTF .”
Even without Sunset Shimmer, Korra could tell that the way Maj. Monogram spoke about the man that something was off . “You aren’t happy with that?”
“What? Oh, no, of course it’s fine. Agent P, take the teams to New York immediately.” The small creature growled and the screen cut out. Turning, he growled at the teams and started walking toward a white aircraft .
Tracer grinned, hurrying up behind Agent P and clambering in. “Oh, this is so great. How does a platypus fly though?” Agent P growled, and Tracer’s smile faltered. “Oh, right. Can’t speak English.”
Bolin shrugged. “I can understand him fine.”
Brigitte stopped ust before she sat down and stared at Bolin. “You can?”
“Sure,” Bolin said. “He said that it’s all about how well you personalize the control surfaces.” An affirmative growl.
Mako looked sideways at his brother. “Since when can you speak his language?”
Bolin shrugged. “It ain’t that different from when I talk to Pabu.”
Pharah smiled as she took her seat. As Winston tried to prepare for recruiting new members into Overwatch, they’d been tapped for the mission . It was Reinhardt, Brigitte, Genji, Mercy, and herself along with Korra’s team. After a long, drawn out session of watching all the movies and shows that Capt. Campbell had advised all teams watch before setting out for U-1923 . Pharah hadn’t minded watching the movies, but between the Pixar films and Disney TV series, it had been hard to keep track of everything . At least Bolin had enjoyed the movies.
It was a quiet flight over, Pharah was still going over the possible recruits in her head. Tactically , Zarya was her obvious choice. The problem was, Zarya was also a known anti-Omnic individual. Putting her into Overwatch when they reformed to protecting the entire world, including Omnics ? Not the wisest decision. DVa, she had a better chance. The problem there was that her MEKA unit belonged to the South Korean government, who had also signed the Petras Act . They’d never let Overwatch take some of their tech, let alone their most able MEKA pilot. Baptiste was the only one they might be able to contact, but his affiliation with Talon forced everyone to pause . Unless they were sure he wasn’t still connected, he wasn’t coming anywhere near Overwatch. To a man they all desperately hoped there wasn’t a hyper-intelligent hamster running around Australia .
Some of the older Overwatch agents had suggested finding her mother and Jack Morrison, but Pharah and Winston disagreed for different reasons . Winston feared what bringing Morrison back into the light would do. Pharah wasn’t ready to deal with her mother yet.
“What do you think,” Genji said. “This Xanatos is one we cannot trust. Whatever he says will be a lie.”
“I agree, but he’s also the only person we can work with right now.” Pharah leaned back in her seat, trying to relax a little. “As long as we remember that he’s not to be trusted , we can try to prevent him playing us. What’s in our favor is that we’re people he’s never faced before.”
Genji shook his head. “My father used to say that the easiest man to put under your control was one who was convinced he couldn’t be. We cannot fall into such a trap.”
“Then we have to believe that we won’t.” Shutting her eyes, Pharah sighed as the flight went gained altitude. “MV-4 already secured several allies as well, if we rely on them to keep us aware of Xanatos’ actions, we stand a better chance of avoiding becoming his pawns .” Genji said nothing as Pharah shut her eyes.
Four hours later, Pharah woke up feeling the aircraft decelerate and descend. Stretching out in her seat, she looked around to see everyone still talking or waking up like she was. Shaking out the cobwebs, she looked out the window to see they were approaching a collection of skyscrapers . Agent P growled over the intercom, and noticing Bolin buckle up she did the same.
The aircraft cut through the skyline straight for a massive castle atop a skyscraper. Everyone shifted so fast to look at the sight that Agent P had to correct the angle to make sure they didn’t careen into the masonry .
As the aircraft settled into the castle’s courtyard, Pharah saw a man with a goatee and ponytail smirking as they touched down . Behind him, a strait-laced looking man with crew-cut blonde hair that Pharah knew better about . The craft settled down, and with the engines still running Agent P led them out.
“Good afternoon Agent P,” David Xanatos said. “And welcome all of you. I’m David Xanatos, it’s a pleasure to meet you all.”
“Thank you for seeing us sir,” Pharah said. “Gen. Hammond wanted to relay his apologies for it taking so long for the MVTF to return.”
“It’s quite alright, this gave us time to take stock of things.” Still smirking, he turned to Agent P. “We’re fine from here, you can go back to Danville.”
It didn’t take Bolin translating to know that P’s growl was a warning. “It’s fine, we’ll be able to handle ourselves from here.” Another growl, and seconds later the white aircraft was off.
Xanatos motioned to the castle door. “Please, this way. So, who are you all?”
“Pharah, field leader of MV-6.”
“Korra, and these are Asami, Mako, and Bolin. MV-3.”
“It’s a pleasure to have you all here. I’ll be honest, I’ve been waiting with some excitement to meet more of this task force.” Pharah noticed that like in the cartoon, Xanatos walked with a proud and high bearing. A self-assuredness born of literally making his own fortune. “So, is it magic or advanced technology?”
“Both,” Pharah said, keeping her answer brief. “Will we be able to speak with Det. Maza?”
“Soon enough,” Xanatos said. “For now, I need to tell you what the situation is.” Owen opened a wide set of doors, revealing a situation room filled with monitors and staff observing a map of the United States . Pharah noticed that along with the state lines, there were colored sections dividing the nation .
As Bolin gasped at the sight, Mako walked up to a flat table just behind the rows of monitors. “What is this, a command center?”
“It is,” Owen said. “Mr. Xanatos has been tasked by the government to collect, organize, and prepare for the process of eliminating the various threats to the nation that have appeared .”
“Hence this operation,” Xanatos said. “With this center, I’ve already determined the number and placement of threats across the country .”
Pharah looked over the large monitor at the other end of the room. From Maine to Virginia was gray. The south from North Carolina to Florida and west to Arkansas and Louisiana were dark red. Michigan, Northwest Ohio and Northwest Indiana were light gray. Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana were orange. Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas were bright green. Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado were a mix of green and orange. The entire West Coast was a dark red. “How recent are these changes, Mr. Xanatos?”
“The last hour,” Xanatos said, tapping at the table. “Right now, we’re most concerned with the Midwest.” The table showed the bright yellow section of the map; Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, the rest of Indiana and Kentucky . “Your allies Lee and Brodeur, they made us most concerned about this region because of what they found in what was Chicago .”
“The Axiom,” Mercy said. “How did the government cover up a massive spaceship landing in the middle of a major city?”
“Given the situation we had to get creative,” Xanatos said. “ Thankfully we were able to convince the major news networks that it was an ecological disaster .”
Mercy and Genji looked at each other. “But what about internet news sources?”
Xanatos’ grin turned devious. “It’s rather easy to discredit a dissenting voice once you control the dialogue.”
While Mercy tried to ignore that troubling statement, Korra looked over the map. “So, this is the one with the robot-things in it right? What can we do?”
“We’ve analyzed the signals in the region.” The table zoomed in on Chicago, specifically on the Axiom just outside the half-buried skyscrapers . “All the robots and hover-chairs in use are directly linked to the ship. The only real option is to disable the ship’s computer systems and deactivate all the systems it utilizes .”
Pharah nodded. “Understood sir. When do we leave?”
“In three days, we’re finalizing how we can move you safely into the region without risking your lives. So far, our safest option is to send you in with a vehicle convoy.” Xanatos zoomed the table back out. “We’ll be equipping you as well-”
“Unnecessary sir,” Pharah quickly said. “We have our own supplies and equipment. For now, we’ll be residing at the Tipton.”
Owen stepped forward. “We have appropriate accommodations here-” Xanatos held up a hand to stop his fae servant. “Very well sir. Shall I bring some cars around to take them?”
“We’d appreciate that,” Pharah said. “Thank you for the time, Mr. Xanatos.”
Xanatos’ eyebrow went up. “Leaving so soon?”
“There’s additional considerations we have to make on our own sir,” Pharah said. “We appreciate the offer to drive us to the Tipton sir.”
“Consider it a courtesy,” Xanatos said. “I look forward to seeing you all in action.”
Mr. Moseby shook his head as he spoke to the band. “I’m sorry Dr. Teeth, but you have to respect the wishes of the guests. They booked a different band for their ballroom rental, we can’t deny them that.”
Dr. Teeth’s jaw slowly dropped before he started shaking. “Man oh man Moseby, why aren’t you making a stronger case for us? Don’t you remember the Rothman wedding?”
“Yes I do, so did the Rothmans. It isn’t often someone plays a slow dance so fast that a great-grandmother breaks her hip. Look, I appreciate your willingness to work but the hotel is just barely rebounding after what happened with those robots. I won’t have another several months of nearly going bankrupt, not when we’re finally showing a profit again.” At that moment, Pharah led the two teams into the lobby. “Oh dear.”
Pharah smiled politely as she walked up to the front desk. “Good afternoon, we’d like to take some rooms?”
Moseby’s smile was genial. His tone wasn’t. “I presume you’re all with the MVTF.”
Pharah blinked. “How’d you know?”
“Well let me see, shall we start with the massive gentleman who looks enthused about the idea of destroying half my hotel ?” Reinhardt’s smile vanished. “Or perhaps the two brothers who, should you take your eyes off them, will find their way into such mischief that it would require police intervention ?” Mako and Bolin shifted uncomfortably . “A young lady who is already looking over my lobby like she’s debating the best way to use it in combat?” Tracer jumped slightly . “That and Mr. Xanatos called ahead to let me know you were all coming.”
Pharah nodded. “So you’re not happy to see us.”
“Don’t misunderstand, your previous teams did help the Tipton out of a terrible situation and we are thankful . It’s just …”
“Coming through!” Everyone turned toward the other end of the lobby, watching a man in a blue jumpsuit run shouting through the lobby pursued by a pair of Muppets in lab coats; one lime green with a bald head, the other pink with a shock of red hair screaming “Meep !” The real treat was that they were all on fire.
Moseby waited until the smoke started to clear from the lobby. “The changes have taken some getting used to.”
Asami tried to smile after what she just saw. “Well the last team told us that we won’t have anything to worry about in New York sir. Your hotel should be-” Moseby held up a hand and glared. “Worried about jinxing it?” A nod. “Got it.”
“Now, having established that Mr. Xanatos directed that you be given every courtesy. With that being clear? Welcome to the Tipton. Esteban?” Everyone turned to see a bellhop come over as Moseby held out several key cards. “See that our guests are shown to their suites.”
“Yes sir Mr. Moseby.” Esteban looked around for a moment as he took the cards. “Where is their luggage?”
“We have it taken care of,” Pharah said. “Lead the way?” Following Esteban, Pharah took stock of the hotel. A Muppet with yellow felt and scruffy brown hair worked the news stand inside the lobby. A trio of rats carrying a suitcase followed a middle-aged businessman out the front door. If it weren’t for the Muppets it would’ve looked like any hotel in any city in any world. Of course, the fact that some of the guests looked like they came from the SG universe and others that they were drawn like a cartoon made all the difference in the world .
One elevator ride later, and the teams were up in their suites. “Here we are. Each suite has two bedrooms, so you’ll all be perfectly comfortable.” Esteban smiled as he handed the cards to Pharah. “If you need anything, simply call down to the lobby. Presuming the phones are working.”
Brigitte stopped as she was walking in. “Why wouldn’t the phones work?”
Esteban shrugged. “ Apparently Fozzy got a call from the 4-H club, and the phones all got filled with milk.” Everyone took a moment to stare at Esteban before the bellhop smiled and went back to the elevators.
Korra sighed as she walked into the suite. “Great, a world where phones are full of milk and little puppet-things run around with people.” She fell onto the nearest couch. “Is it too late to get out of this one?”
Reinhardt laughed. “Come Korra, are you telling me that you’re not the least bit curious to see what the rest of this world has to offer?”
“For now let’s focus on what Campbell recommended we do,” Pharah said, grabbing the phone in the room. Holding it out for a moment to make sure nothing shot out of it, she carefully held it up to her ear and dialed the number Campbell had left .
“ 23rd Precinct, Det. Elisa Maza. ”
“Det. Maza, my name is Pharah. We have a mutual group of friends who assisted in resolving a matter involving the Sykes family.”
The line was silent for a few seconds. “ I see. Can you get to the 23rd tonight, just after sunset? ”
“ Don’t bring everyone, just one or two. See you soon. ”
Hanging up, Pharah looked over the teams and nodded. “Well, we have a few hours to kill. Who wants to try the real Ray’s Pizza?”